The Last of Us: Episode Two - 'Infected' Spoiler Review

Going into episode two (titled "Infected'), I did not think it could be on par with episode one, but Infected was just as good as episode one. I thought episode one was almost perfect, and the only reason I did not give it a 10/10 was because I knew what was going to happen. By episode two I no longer could clearly remember what happens in the cutscenes from the game that I had watched so the episode kept me on the edge of my seat. The choice to open the second episode on flashback to Jakarta to show possibly ground zero of the outbreak. The scenes in Jakarta were haunting because the general and the scientist we were following showed how scared they were by the end. I know some felt the flashback unnecessary because the game never did it, but the show is different from the game and I appreciate explaining that flour/grain might have explained what happened. I heard some criticize the decision for the scientist to immediately suggest bombing the area, but to me this makes sense. The scientist would understand that by the time a cure or a vaccine could be made, civilization would be overrun. The scientist was being practical, and I like characters that are practical over sentimental. The whole opening sequence set up a feeling of dread, and I think that was the right mood to start the episode with.

After the opening flashback the episode kind of settled into what I expect the rest of the season to be like which is Joel and Ellie surviving in the wasteland. The only difference was the inclusion of Tess, and she did not make it out of the episode alive. I am sure we will see Tess again in flashbacks showing some of what Joel has been up to since 2003. While I was hoping we might see what is going on with Tommy, I think it was best to keep the attention focused on Tess, Ellie and Joel. Finally getting to see the infected was terrifying because in episode one we got the runners, and in episode two we were introduced to the clickers. While Tess' death shocked me, I knew at some point soon she was going to be sidelined so that the journey would continue with just Joel and Ellie. Until Ellie said Tess was bit, I was sure she just had a twisted ankle like she said. It made a lot more sense when she snapped at Joel on the roof, as she knew her time was up and she was still making peace with her end. I liked that Joel kept needing to be pushed to keep moving ahead with the plan, and that his bond with Ellie did not form right away. Joel suffered a terrible loss in episode one, but so did a lot of people, so Joel I'm guessing lost Sarah's mother too and that is why he is so cold towards everyone. I like the character details that they are putting into the show, and after only two episodes I have quickly become attached to Joel and Ellie.


Episode two opens with a flashback to 2003 Jakarta where see scientist Ibu Ratna at a restaurant be escorted out by military officers one of whom is General Hidayat. The General needs Ratna to look at something as Ratna is a professor of mycology (the study of fungus). Ratna looks at a prepared slide under a microscope and she is confused as to how it was prepared. The General said it was prepared correctly for sample taken from a human; this news causes shock in Ratna. The General shows Ratna the body that the sample was taken from, and upon doing an autopsy Ratna finds the woman was bit on the ankle (with fungus underneath the skin) and then she inspects the mouth finding the tendrils. The discovery of the tendrils in the mouth causes Ratna to run out of the room in panic. Ratna ask the General for more information about the woman, and it turns out the outbreak has happened as the General tells Ratna that the woman worked at a grain factory and that 14 workers did not show up for work. The General asks Ratna about a cure or vaccine, and Ratna says it would not work, the only solution is a bomb. The General is shocked, and Ratna starts to cry and asks to be allowed to go home to her family. 

In 2023, we see Ellie wake up in the ruins of a building with Joel and Tess observing her to see if she has turned or not. Joel and Tess debate what to do with Ellie, Joel wants to bring her back to the quarantine zone while Tess wants to follow through with the original plan. They leave the ruined shop and start heading towards the state house, but the way forward is complicated. The long way (safe way) involves climbing up a hotel to look first. Ellie tells them that she got bit by going into an abandoned mall by herself. As they are walking on a bridge they hear a screech from one of the infected, but it is in the distance so they keep moving. They need to use the stairs to get to the 10th floor of the hotel so they see if the long way is safe. Joel and Ellie wait while Tess goes to look so Ellie asks Joel about his life which he refuses to share. Ellie then asks for details about the infected like how long they live and if he has killed them. Joel says the infected can live at least 20 years or less in some cases, and he says sometimes it bothers him when he kills an infected knowing it was once a human. The safe way forward is dangerous now as the infected are blocking their way forward. Tess explains that the infected are connected through the tendrils so you can step on a tendril a mile away and you will alert the infected to your presence. 

The short way (or as Tess puts it '"the we're f****** dead way") involves going through a museum; Joel touches a tendril on the ground and it crumbles so he hopes the ones inside have dried out. Inside the museum they find burned out bodies of the infected but also a fresh human corpse which suggests there are living infected in the building. Joel says from that point on they need to be silent, and as they make their way to the top they become trapped inside a room. The only way out of the room involves getting by two clickers, and using signals Joel explains to Ellie they can't see, but they can hear. Ellie becomes shocked at their appearance, and she lets out a heavy breath which causes the clickers to attack. The trio become separated, but Joel and Ellie reunite and kill one of them, but Tess needs to save them when second one attacks. Tess suffers a twisted ankle, and Ellie is bit again, but they make it outside alive. Joel is taping up Tess' ankle when she snaps at him for being so negative about everything so he goes to watch Ellie. 

As they approach the state house they pause to watch and make sure it is okay to proceed. Joel checks the truck outside, and finds a fresh dead body next to it and before he can stop them Tess and Ellie run inside the state house. Inside the state house they find the bodies of the Fireflies they were meeting; Joel surmises that one of them was infected causing them to turn on one another. Tess asks Ellie where she was being taken to and all Ellie knows is out west, Tess says she is staying and Ellie figures out that Tess must be infected. Tess shows Joel a bite on her neck, and then she has Joel look at the new one on Ellie's arm. Tess says that Ellie's look okay, and she asks Joel to take Ellie to safety for her, she says to bring Ellie to Bill and Frank. One of the Fireflies starts to turn and Joel shoots it in the head hitting a tendril that alerts the other infected to their location. Tess knocks over barrels of gasoline and she intends to wait for the infected and blow herself up. Tess tells Joel to "save who you can save" and Joel grabs Ellie (who does not want to leave Tess) and run out the back of the house. As the infected barge into the house Tess struggles to light a lighter, and only after an infected stuff his tendrils into her mouth does it light igniting the gas and blowing them up. The episode ends with Joel and Ellie heading presumably to Bill and Frank's.


The ending to episode two is more powerful than the ending to episode one in that we lost one of the main characters of the first two episodes. The death of Tess was traumatic, but it was also frustrating in that instead of simply pulling the pin on one of the grenades she fumbled with a lighter for what felt like an eternity. I think there might have been a smoother way to do it, but I think they were set on having the kissing moment between Tess and the infected. The relationship between Tess and Joel was never explained (though I am sure it will), which is another change from the video game where it was said that Tess and Joel were business partners. I will be curious how Joel handles the loss of Tess, in the moment he did what he had to, but I'm guessing he will struggle in the next episode with his grief. Not only was Tess a strong and tough woman, but she had a way of getting Joel to listen and move past his worry. Tess was able to keep Joel from turning around and heading back to the quarantine zone; Joel will need to start making decisions without Tess' guidance. Ellie was also growing attached to Tess, and her visceral reaction to Joel trying to leave with her was painful to watch. We do not know anything about Ellie's backstory beyond how she got bit, but I am sure something will be told about her past. Ellie despite her sarcasm and toughness is still a child, and one who has never been outside of the quarantine zone. Even though I remember enough of the story to know what to expect, I'm still excited to see how the will get our heroes where they need to go.

Earlier in the review I talked a lot about the opening scene in Jakarta, but I want to add one more thing to my earlier thoughts. The beginning scene has Ratna sharing the viewpoint in episode one of the scientist, but Ellie's existence seems to suggest that there might be some hope for a cure after all. Even if the General had listened to Ratna and bombed right away, I think it would have been too late. By the time the order went up the flagpole, the bombs loaded and dropped the infection would have spread out beyond the bombing zones and likely into other countries not to mention the contaminated grain. The focus of the story shifts from Joel's pessimistic viewpoint to the more hopeful one that Tess believes in. I find it funny that the Fireflies slogan is "when you're lost in the darkness.. Look for the light" and Joel's response in episode one shows where his mind is at this point. I do like the slogan, and I think in a time like the world is experiencing people need hope, but we will have to see if the Fireflies are any better than FEDRA (Federal Disaster Response Agency). I can tell that there was some serious thought put into how to differentiate the infected on The Last of Us versus the zombies on The Walking Dead. The infected move faster, but adding the clickers add a new and terrifying twist that was not there in episode one. The museum and state house scenes were very nerve wracking to watch, and the museum scene had our first good look at clickers on the show, and they are scary to look at. 

The banter between Ellie and whoever she is talking to is always fun as she is so precocious; she also swears a lot, and it is always done in a funny way. There is so much snark to Ellie, and Joel has plenty of it too which is why they will bicker, but they will also bond. I am going to give episode two a 9/10 too, but it was close to a 10/10 because of how strong the episode was beginning to end. Episode two featured a strong opening, a powerful ending, and a middle section that was both thrilling while also funny at times. All three of the main actors were incredible in this episode, and I think the show has been a huge hit so far. HBO and the team behind the show are giving fans of the game something to look forward to every Sunday. Over the two episodes the only issues I have encountered are minor nitpicks that are not overly impacting the story. If the quality can maintain then I think The Last of Us might be a classic in the making, and if the reviews are any indicator I think episode three is going to be a good one too. 

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